Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All apologies?

Hardly! Rupert Murdoch today released an official "apology" for last week's publication of a blatantly racist editorial cartoon by Sean Delonas:

"As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community."

What is he really saying here? It seems to me a complete denial of intent, but based on the history of the editorial content of The New York Post and other Murdoch media outlets, it's too transparent. This is not an isolated incident. His claim that they will attempt to be "more attuned to the sensitivities of our community" is an outrageous lie. They had many opportunities to do so before last week. And what's this about "sensitivities" anyway? It's not about being sensitive. It's about sensibilities. People with any sense saw the cartoon for what it quite obviously was. He's not going to say he's sorry people are so sensitive???

Fuck him, and his papers, and TV stations, and his dog. He can keep his insincere apology. This further exposes Rupert Murdoch and his editors for what they are.

Small, Small World

Okay, call me immature...

Wait... we've been down this road before...

But...

Imagine my surprise today when I had to contact someone named Dick Land. It tops (no pun intended) when I had to contact a man named DICK WEEKLEY.

And yes, he answered the phone, "Hello, this is Dick Land." I hung up immediately and decided on e-mail instead. Call me immature...

The jokes are far too obvious, but the dollar signs tripled up in my eyes like a Vegas slot machine. Imagine, if you will, a theme park, for those so inclined (or even prostrate or maybe waiting standing on line impatiently, where nobody will ever sing, "It's a small world, after all."

It would seem though that the ever so industrious people of The Republic of China have HAVE BEATEN ME TO THE PUNCH.

Perhaps they will offer franchise opportunities?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How far have we come

when one of the three largest news dailies in any major market, particularly a locale which is said to be the bastion of liberalism, publishes THIS RACIST GARBAGE

I encourage any and/or all of you to speak out against this. Write to The New York Post. All their top editors and advertising contacts have e-mail addresses available online. Write to their advertisers first. Boycott. Please. It's about time we showed these creeps the pimp hand. The majority of their major advertisers will have corporate contacts on their websites. Google is our friend.

My letter to Richard Johnson and other members of The New York Post staff, including Sean Delonas, who has polluted the media for far too long:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I'm writing to express my utter disgust with the Sean Delonas cartoon published in The New York Post today. I have copied my letter to him below. I will stress, however, that my primary displeasure is not with Sean Delonas. I'm not naive enough to believe we live in a city and a world without hateful racists. My primary displeasure is in fact, with the editors of The New York Post for allowing violent rhetoric of hate to be continually published within its pages. This is just the icing on the cake compiled of layers of bizarre hateful entries onto your editorial pages. Please know that whether or not you terminate your contract with Mr. Delonas, I will be contacting advertisers en masse, and organizing others to do the same. Mr. Johnson, there is no place in our city for this. This is NOT a First Amendment issue. This is about Decency.

My letter to Sean Delonas:
Mr. Delonas,

I am sure I have not been the first today to express disgust at your editorial cartoon published in The New York Post, February 18, 2009. This has nothing to do with politics, sir, nor whether or not I agree or disagree with the new economic stimulus package.

Certainly sir, you are not unaware of the historical context of the portrayal of African-Americans as apes. This particular brand of virulent, racist journalism was widely practiced at points decades ago. We were shown examples when I was in journalism classes, also decades ago. We were told in these classes also that ugliness of this ilk was distant history.

Imagine my surprise then when I thumbed open a co-workers copy of The New York Post this morning and saw your latest. Mr. Delonas, I am not unfamiliar with your "work" and I've always thought you to be a bilious, wretched, racist, homophobe. You have today, however, reached a new low. This cartoon is not only racist, but it is obviously a very thinly veiled call for assassination. It goes beyond bad taste and strikes me as out of line with even the First Amendment.

I will be sending copies of this letter to The New York Post, as well as the Investor Relations and P.R. departments of as many of their advertisers as I can find. I will be forwarding calls for your removal from The New York Post and any of their syndicated affiliates. I will be contacting neighborhood civic and religious organizations. I'm here today to tell you, Mr. Delonas, that there is no place for you among people of conscience. You have been served notice. Your time is just about up.

With profound disdain,

MacGregor Rucker
Brooklyn, NY

It's time to deliver the message. We are fighting back.

RELATED: Attorney General Eric Holder says we are a NATION OF COWARDS. I happen to agree. He has taken a lot of flack already for these comments. The GOP's official line is that the accusation is "reprehensible." I believe, on the contrary, it takes a courageous patriot to "man up" and speak out about what he thinks could help his country meet its true potential.

We are utterly yellow-bellied on the subject of sexism also.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Should we talk about the weather?

Yes, let's TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER!

Okay, let's not.

New Yorkers spend an inordinate about of time, it seems to me, discussing the weather. That wouldn't be nearly so annoying if nice days rated more than a quick mention like oh my what a beautiful day, blurted out over the shoulder in a rush on the way to someplace else.

The irony is that the lengthier conversations are usually held out on the pavement when it is either too hot or too cold. It's always one or the other in New York City. Too hot or too cold. People here spend all winter complaining about the cold, and all summer griping about how they can't wait for summer to be over.

And the linked story above tells me only that I can expect to spend hotter, rainier days standing out IN the weather, discussing it.

Great. I've been thinking that's just what I need. Now I don't have to worry about planning my summer.

Many of pithier conversations these days have been via text and instant messages. I find these mediums to be the conversational equivalent of a steeple chase. It is often necessary to reread them later because of uncertainty that nuances might have been missed, or that I might have said something that could be somehow misconstrued. Both scenarios are usually the case.

Then conversely, many "face-to-face" conversations are not conversations at all, because with the exception of a few canny friends and acquaintances, the people I'm with are carrying on text messages rallies with someone else. Okay, so maybe I'm crashingly dull and this is a survival technique, but I can say this for myself: I do try.

I've watched a half dozen people walk into a bar or lounge, take a table together, and within 10 minutes, 4 of the 6 are conversing by text or phone with someone outside the group. The other two become happy spectators and kibbitzers... and so on. I won't even go into my biggest pet peeve, and that's those who go see a live performance and spend the entire show texting some absent other about how great it is to be at a live performance... presumably to be texting someone else about how great it is.

Perhaps I am just old...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Yes... there I've said it!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

There, I said it again!

I believe, perhaps, that I've misrepresented myself over the years as too crabby and cynical to acknowledge what the most practiced cynics refer to as a "Hallmark Holiday." The truth of the matter is, giving the day mention in a negative light, only exposes a softer heart in a person that would prefer that the holiday might live up to it's name in a way more meaningful to one's self.

Yes, the day has been commercially exploited, but what holiday hasn't? Yes, people in love should express their feelings 365 days (and nights) a year. That said, what in the world could possibly be wrong to take one extra day a year to celebrate romantic love? It doesn't really matter if you have some special relationship to fete on Valentine's Day. Why not just celebrate the idea of it anyway? We've all loved passionately. We've all lost painfully. That's just the way things go.

I do believe, with all my heart, that even those of us/you/them that are most skeptical of romantic love, secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) long to feel it again, whether permanently in some eternal storybook way, or even just in a "live-for-the-moment" sense.

And for the most adamant naysayers... I don't believe you. Ha! I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!

So for those of you who are happily in love, and for those of you who are not at the moment... for those of you who stand steadfast to disbelief... for those of you who live by it...

I tip my hat to all of you... Or I nod my Gel-Helmeted Johnny Bravo head to you.

Happy Valentine's Day. Raise a jar to love today.

And a musical recommendation for the day. The Heartless Bastards are decidedly not heartless in any sense of the word. Their latest release, The Mountain, is absolutely beautiful... strange, droning, haunted, hopeful, crunching power ballads (not in the hair-band power ballad sense) and jaunty, strutting rock, neo-bluesy numbers... just a great album.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crime & Punishment?

I don't know what to make of THIS CASE of a 9 year old boy, charged with the premeditated killing (note I will not use the term murder) of his father and another man. Seems an all around tragedy, really.

We, as a culture/society, seem all too willing to take credit for any successes and good deeds a child does, but all too ready to throw up our hands and punish children to the fullest extent of the law when things go wrong. This is, of course, an extreme case but it evokes a lot of questions about this business of punishing minors as adults. It doesn't seem moral to have allowed this practice to begin with, let alone to allow it to continue.

We continue to tell children that violence is no solution, but turn and lead by example and murder and facilitate murder all across the globe.

We delude ourselves and say that we offer the best of all possible worlds for children, and absolve ourselves of any guilt when things go horribly wrong. We call these children aberrations when perhaps their behavior is only the logical conclusion of our own example.

I'm a bit confused though. What do you do with a child that's gone to this extreme? In 10 years we would have allowed this child to enlist and taught him to kill without remorse... It all gives me a pain in the pit of my stomach.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Infinite Disjointed Narrative

no disrespect to the late David Foster Wallace intended... yet...

(note the ellipses)

400 pages (or roughly one third) into the most challenging narrative I've ever encountered, I'm beginning to wonder once again about critics, and critical acclaim in general. It would be entirely unfair at this point to pass my own judgment on Infinite Jest. There may actually be something to it far and beyond a seemingly rough collection of what may or may not be several novels (or rambles) set in and around what may or may not be a futuristic vision of The United States.

I've always fancied myself an advanced reader, and never one tied to traditional narrative structure. This one makes me question my standing though, among the ranks of enlightened fans of "the novel." The leaps from tense to tense, atop the bounds from setting to setting, from scenario to scenario, and so on, have quite frankly made me somewhat insecure. I'm hesitant to throw up my hands and say, this truly is the Infinite Jest. That this is merely an extended ploy to put pseudo-intellectuals into a typically pseudo-intellectual quandary... that this might just be what a malevolent cynic like Goebbels would have called, "the lie so big that everybody believes it."

Greater minds than my own, or perhaps greater cowards than myself, or perhaps those who've finished the book (?) haven't a single negative thing to say about DFW's magnum opus.

I was always proud to claim, with all sincerity, that I understand novels like Naked Lunch--or particularly novels like Naked Lunch, another challenging read--and that I carried away from it meaning... reflections, albeit horrid reflections, upon the human beast. Naked Lunch was not 400 pages long, let alone 1,100+ pages long. It seemed to me, admittedly not on the first read, to be cohesive and complete.

My fear with Infinite Jest is twofold: 1) that I am missing something important, and 2) that I will complete it having not missed a thing.

I have no point of reference aside from suspicious raves from critics. I know nobody who has read it, but would welcome any reliable source that might come along and pat me on the back and say, "stick with it, Old Man. It's worth it."

So far it's given me little more than an understanding of the word "infinite."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Right around the corner

There is a bit of a lift you get when, at some point in the winter, you leave work and realize it's not yet completely dark. That moment came tonight, walking out onto scabby old 35th Street in the heart of the rag district. Spring right around the corner, inklings of hints of promises of... something or another... a bit of a lift.

It came with mixed feelings though, and some resignation that everything moves on with or without any or all of us.

I'm not keen on saying goodbye to people, and this week marks the passing of a friend and former co-worker who lost her fight with cancer over this past weekend. Words don't really cut it, do they? Obituaries and eulogies written with the best of intentions don't do justice to anybody's life.

What can I say? I've always held a lot of admiration for the person in a scene or crowd, who is possessed of the quiet wit and economy of words. That's the person I've always wanted to be more like. Laid back, but razor sharp, but never one to use their talents in a way that would ever hurt a soul. Kind. Lizelle was that person. Soft-spoken, charming, clever and funny... and kind. A good example. Nothing to say, but thanks, Lizelle, for always making me smile.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Super Bowl goes Super Duper!

Okay, call me immature, but I think this is really funny.

Seems the Super Bowl was preempted for 30 seconds by a PORNO CLIP and people are offended.

I would think that as long as it didn't happen in the last 2 minutes of the game it would have been a welcome break from the tedium!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

On to serious business...

It has been easy enough to use this space for miscellaneous nonsense as the world hurtles by. January marked at least one historic moment as Barack Obama took the oath of office. I've many thoughts on that, but everybody else seemed to have that well covered, so I sat back and watched and listened. Nothing to add. A few things to subtract, but arguments are tiresome. I've little energy left and few share my sentiments anyway.

The other big news story was yet another heinous war, that being the invasion of Gaza. The so-called "free press" dropped the ball on this one. Again. I've come to expect it. Objective journalism? A joke. As Les Payne once told me, with a bitter laugh, "If you want objective journalism, turn to the sports page and read box scores. That's about as close to the truth as you're going to get."

So as we sat grinning at the TV during the inauguration, rubbing our hands together with glee, full of happy thoughts... hope and change... Gaza got blasted to smithereens. No hope and no change, except for the worst. Western media treated what's become a humanitarian crisis of colossal proportions mostly like a non-event.

The following column, by John Maxwell of the Jamaica Observer (ta, CG), is technically an indictment of the BBC's failure to act responsibly on a plea for help, but it really goes beyond that. It could easily describe any news outlet, print or electronic, as the press has abrogated their responsibility to the truth, neutrality, and moreover, humanity.

DISASTER AND THE "FREE PRESS"

Many thanks to John Maxwell for not forgetting.